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Shyheim Snead

Shyheim Snead, smiling, in front of a colorful wall mural and wearing a Stanford sweatshirt

Shyheim Snead,
MA/MBA '24, Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies

Forging collaborations to support students, families, and communities

As a boy growing up in Bridgeport, Conn., Shyheim Snead sat one day for an academic placement test. It turned out to be a moment that would alter the trajectory of his life.

When his test scores came back, doors began to open for Snead: Advanced classes at his public school. A private high school scholarship. Admission to American University. Now a Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford, he is enrolled in the Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies (POLS) master’s program at the GSE while pursuing an MBA at the Graduate School of Business.

Decades of accomplishments — all, he says, ultimately traced back to one test on one day. “What about my experience led me to get so lucky?” Snead asks. “And how can we change the system to ensure that folks don't have to get lucky — that they have access to the resources and support they need to thrive?” 

The latter question is one that drives his studies at Stanford. Prior to applying to graduate school, Snead managed the inaugural grant program of the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, founded by President Obama to address opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color. He also managed strategy and operations for Bridgeport Prospers, an initiative in his hometown supporting kids and families.

Looking forward, Snead aims to connect schools with community-based organizations and institutions addressing issues outside the classroom that affect student achievement, such as food insecurity and access to health care. Schools and nonprofits need “a conduit, a translator” to find one another, he says. 

Stanford’s dual-degree program was particularly appealing to Snead in preparing for such a career. “It allows me to tap into the expertise and experiences of people in these spaces who've done amazing things around the world,” he says. “Interdisciplinary education has been a cornerstone of how I've continued to learn and grow.”

March 9, 2023
Photo courtesy of Shyheim Snead

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